Greetings from the IB Newsletter

By Laura-Lee Williams

It is with great pleasure that we present you with the IB Newsletter! 

   The Bergen Cathedral School offers different programs including the International Baccalaureate Program. On a weekly basis, IB students participate in a wide range of activities, from events provided by the school to voluntary organizations. However, information on IB activities is not always known to those interested. Therefore, the IB Newsletter wishes to create a common platform, where mainly students and teachers can express themselves and share information. In this way, the team hopes to improve the communication within the school’s IB department and help strengthen its current community.


   The Newsletter will publish monthly issues both online on website and on print, where one can look forward to both articles and videos covering anything of interest that has happened. We will mainly promote events happening within the IB subjects, potential C.A.S activities for students, important announcements, deadlines and global issues. Otherwise, we

publish light-hearted content, such as interviews with students and teachers, advice, and fun posts. 

We look forward to covering the many interesting things that will happen over the next two years here at the IB program. 


Thank you for reading and stay safe! 

Above, from left to right: Sonia, Yosefa, Laura-Lee, Lan, Mille, Ivan and Jasmijn.

Taken by Tom Costigan.

The 3IB "Psychologists"

By Ngoc Lan Ho

 It’s not a surprise that the current 3IB students will be expected to graduate by next year of June 2021. In preparation for their graduation day, the students have been quite busy working on their internal assessments. Of course, this includes the Psychology students, in which some have recently performed their experiments for their awaited IA.

The Psychology students replicated an existing study that was later adapted to fit their surroundings. The IA is usually worth 25% of your final grade, however, due to the pandemic, paper two has been cancelled for this year, (May 2021), so it is now worth 35% of their final grade. 


To gain some insight on the experiment, I interviewed the Psychology teacher, Anette Arnesen Toppe. She first described the purpose of the experiment which she stated: “This IA is a chance to give students the ability to put their contents and knowledge into practice. To learn how to become a researcher while getting to experience the challenges in creating your own experiment firsthand.” Anette was glad to report that the students did exceptionally well in the planning and execution of their experiments. She concluded the interview by giving some advice to students planning to take Psychology should they attend the IB: 


   “The Psychology IA is something to look forward to and it is an interesting way to work. It is going to be challenging and can be frustrating due to unexpected challenges, but it is a good way to learn.”

I also took the opportunity to interview Amanda Johnsen-Harnandez and Karla Juric, two students from one of the 3IB groups that conducted a psychological experiment. Amanda and Karla’s group experiment investigated “How self-reference can affect memory.” 

Seeing that the experiment was in English they used the 2IB Psychology and History class as the participants. A challenge that they faced was that they were unable to use ‘outside’ participants due to the social distancing guidelines for this pandemic.

  Despite this, they were quite satisfied with their experiment, “It was exciting to have an actual experiment where one could apply the knowledge. It was a fun experience. It wasn’t so scary, but I was a little bit nervous when we first had the actual experiment with participants. However, it went really well and our results agreed with our hypothesis,” Amanda explained. 


   In terms of the internal assessment in Psychology, they advised other students not stress too much of it. They believe that it is important to corporate with your group and to choose your partners wisely. The 3IB student also recommends keeping the experiment itself simple and to not make it more complicated than the original study. They explained that much of the time will be spent on interpreting the results as well as writing the report, or the IA.


    At the end, I interviewed some participants from the different experiments conducted by the 3IB Psychology students. Here, I mainly asked them how they felt about the overall experiment and why they participated in it. 

Here are what some of the participants had to say:

Alezzia Valdiviezo:

“I took part in the experiment because I thought it would be useful to help the 3IB students, as obtaining participants would be a bit difficult. I thought this was a fun and interesting experiment and I am interested in seeing the results. I found that they did very well on this experiment”



“I thought it was mandatory to help the 3IB students. I was curious about the purpose of the experiment but at the end of the experiment they allowed us to know. I would also like to wish the 3IB students good luck on their final assessments. Have fun with your exams”


Mille Gaaserud:

“I felt like I was contributing to help future generations to gain greater knowledge about human behaviours. I felt very safe doing the experiment due to the professionality that the 3IB showed” 


Eskil Sviggum:

“I wanted to do something nice and it really didn’t bother me to be a part of the experiment. I think it would be cool if we could use their data to analyze and evaluate.”


Eirik Storevik:

“I joined because I was asked to. I was surprised because I thought I would have remembered more. This was an interesting experiment”

Seven Hours of Separation - The 2IB Maths Collaboration with Mexico

By Sonia Pezzali

What started out from a post from Facebook, later resulted in the 2IB Maths Class working on a collaborative project of seven hours time difference. The students of the Maths AA SL class were working together with students from “Universidad de Monterrey”, an IB school in Monterrey, Mexico. A month has passed since this project, so I took the opportunity to ask students and their teacher Asle Engelsen about their thoughts on this project.

Asle Engelsen, also the Maths teacher in the IB informed us that the school had never carried out such a project. After seeing the published post from Facebook, a request for the collaborative project, Asle simply contacted Monterrey's IB teacher. Both teachers discussed the project for a while before both decided to carry it out in their classes. The students were then divided into groups of four, with students from both schools. The class was given different topics to work on, such as Six Degrees of Separation, Rate of Corona Infections and Youtube Statistics. 

  “The outcomes were very good, far better than I expected”, Asle Engelsen said. He did not expect much from the project's final result but was rather more interested in how the students were able to overcome difficulties that came with the project. The teacher explained that he wanted his students to work and have fun in the process, as this was not used as an assessment. In terms of the project itself, Engelsen thinks that the project was helpful for understanding the importance of contribution and responsibility. The project’s conditions would also force

students to organize their time and reflect over the different conditions of the project. He believes that this was a realistic learning goal towards the student’s Maths IA. “It was a good project since it covered some of the IB Learner Profiles that aren’t really touched upon during normal classes,” the teacher added. Asle wishes to do a similar collaborative project in the future and use it to assess his students. 

  Students who participated in this project found this experience fun but also time-consuming. As previously stated, both sides of the project worked with a seven-hour time difference. Some students had no problem with adapting their time schedule and thought nothing of it, while others found it a little unfair that the Monterrey IB students could just work in their Math’s class whereas the IB students in Bergen would have to sacrifice their free time outside school.


Despite this, the students learned the fundamentals of communication, that helped the students overcome misunderstandings, in which many thought was an obstacle during the project.

A 2IB student’s first Impression on the IB

By Ngoc Lan Ho

     I first heard about the IB program which is an international program from my high school teacher, and wasn’t interested in it. It wasn’t until I had my own goals and plan for my future that I decided to get to know the IBDP (IB Diploma Program). The IB is more than an English program, it is a globally accepted program and more importantly, it is going to give me a wider range of choices for my education path. In addition, the courses and the subjects are very interesting which I think can help me to develop a wider and deeper understanding in different subject groups. In my opinion, the IB program really encourages me to think outside the box and develop in different aspects.

    I know it has been only two months and it’s a little bit early to conclude, but I must admit, the IB program is challenging and the workload is big. The IB diploma really relies on self-motivated work so it’s important to have our homework done, but it can be a good thing. It makes me realize how important it is to prioritize and manage my time well. But don’t worry, here at Katten, we are provided lessons and workshops that give us the tools and strategies that can help us control the workload.

    Besides that, the classes are very interesting, and we have opportunities to try out new things and have fun. I talked more, I laughed more, and I think I am in an amazing environment for studying and socializing. Moreover, fulfilling the learning outcomes for C.A.S is a chance for me to have some fun extracurriculars and to force me out of my comfort zone. 

I think it’s very important to navigate your goals when considering taking the IB. I know that there are only a few people that have already decided their path of education and even have their dream

school, but your goals will have an important role when it comes to deciding an education program. Taking the IB is going to be challenging and you must dedicate the time and effort to your schoolwork, but it is going to be worth it and it can be the best preparation for universities. If you dream of studying abroad or you just enjoy challenges, IB might be the perfect choice for you. 

   If you have already decided to take the IB it might be a good idea to be acquainted with the program and the subjects. Choosing the subjects is very important, because you are going to learn it for the whole two years. You could try out different subjects before determining which suits you best, but don't forget to pick the one that you truly like and are good at. At Katten, you can get the best advice from the teachers and students when it comes to choosing the subject. It’s not going to be easy so I think you can take the advantage by doing some research in the summer vacation.


   To be honest, I know it is going to be difficult and demanding which I believe that is what every IB student must go through. There are the IAs, the Extended Essay and TOK that I must be well prepared for, but I think I will enjoy this following two years and do my best for them. As mentioned earlier, the subjects are very interesting, the people are really kind, and I think taking the IB at Bergen Cathedral school is one of the best decisions I have made. I do believe that the IBDP is going to make you a well-rounded student.

POV of an ENGLISH A teacher

By Jasmijn Van Huis

 How are we influenced by the language around us? In how far does what a writer tries to convey actually correspond to what the reader reads in a text? Do readers from another time or place read the same text differently? To what extent do texts offer insight into another culture? These are some of the many questions that lie at the core of English A: Language and Literature. 

As the name suggests, the course consists of a language and a literature part. The literature part probably doesn’t need a lot of explaining. We read novels, plays and poetry and discuss their content and themes. Most parents and older brothers and sisters will probably have done something similar when they were in school. However, I fear I’m not giving literature enough justice here. What I personally really like about teaching literature is that it has a lot of overlap with History. To truly understand a work of literature it’s often necessary to know the context in which it was written. 

   When we start reading a work I often feel more like a History teacher than an English teacher. Another thing I really like is how works of literature let you walk in somebody else’s shoes for a while. It’s much easier to understand what Apartheid was like if you’ve seen it from the perspective of someone who experienced it. Literature offers you a trip into somebody else’s life.

Above: English A teachers, naming from left to right, Michael, Jasmijn and Tor Edvard. Taken by Tom Costigan.

Left: English A HL teacher Willem

The language part of the course is probably less familiar. Here the focus is on non-literary texts that can be found all around us: speeches, articles, advertisements, posters, debates, infographics, blogs, vlogs, cartoons and so one and so forth. Roughly, this part of the course focuses on how these texts work. What makes a speech impressive? Why is that ad appealing? Who is the text aimed at?  How can you tell? What stylistic techniques are being used to get the message across? It’s all about learning to explain how and why texts do what they do.

Of course, the language and literature parts are not separate. The works of literature share themes and issues with the non-literary texts. For example, while reading 1984 by George Orwell, we use the non-literary parts of the lessons to discuss propaganda, fake news and mass surveillance. The final oral exam is about how a global issue, like mass surveillance, comes back in a literary and a non-literary extract. It’s only since last year, when the course was updated, that this connection is possible but I’m already a big fan. It’s much clearer now how the literary works are connected to the real world and finding matching texts is a lot of fun for both teachers and students.

One more thing that I find interesting as a teacher is that I never know for certain at the start of the year what the course will look like later in the year. Of course I plan the course, but sometimes things happen in the news that are very interesting in terms of language and need to be addressed. MeToo, BLM and Corona all lead to heated debates, speeches, and articles in which the authors used all kinds of techniques to get their arguments across. I don’t believe I’ve ever taught the same course outline twice!

Thank You For Reading!